Andrew Bogut had a choice between the Mavericks and the Rockets this summer. He wasn’t a free agent, but when Kevin Durant committed to the Warriors and Bogut’s contract needed to be moved, multiple teams immediately called the Warriors to ask them about the big man.
Bogut, of course, chose the Mavericks over Houston. At Mavericks media day on Monday, Bogut was coy about Houston being on the table — “I’m not sure what teams called, it was a long time ago,” he said — but talked about why he ended up choosing the Mavericks.
“I can answer your question in a different way. I like Texas. I’ve always liked Texas. I like Dallas,” Bogut said. “Just the organization, I think, is always in the top when I hear from someone, guys like Richard Jefferson, guys I’ve played with. They speak so highly of the organization and the way it treats its players, how professional everyone is here. They really go out of their way to help you, so that was critical to me.”
When reminded Houston is also in Texas, Bogut admitted, “I like Dallas better.”
There were other teams beyond the two Texas franchises reportedly involved in discussions for Bogut, including the Philadelphia 76ers. But that was never a realistic option for Bogut, who made that pretty clear for his former team.
“I basically said, if I go there I’ll be asking for a buyout, to put it frankly,” Bogut said. “And Dallas was one that I wasn’t going to ask for a buyout, so the Warriors kind of figured out, ‘Oh, we should send you here.’”
There’s any number of reasons why Bogut would chose Dallas over Houston, including stability at head coach and in the front office, to playing time, where Bogut will be the Mavericks’ clear starting center, a distinction that couldn’t be made in Houston because of Clint Capela. However, his answer about the team’s culture and how they treat their players is just as important. You can disagree with some of this franchise’s methods, but they’ve always been great towards their players, which really matters.
This clearly isn’t an indication that the Rockets don’t treat their players right, either. But on a team that has had three head coaches in two years, and has seen the core of the team outside James Harden change drastically, it’s clear that Dallas won out. The two rivals can’t squabble over Chandler Parsons anymore, but perhaps Bogut is the new ignition point to this rivalry.